June 2021

“In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.”  1 Timothy 4:6

Sadly Uganda has been hit hard with the second wave of the Corona Virus, and we have entered another strict lockdown.  The past 16 months of confusion, pain, despondency and frustration have been the same for everyone around the world.  Our team has felt the negative effects of this lockdown in that our Discipleship School has to be closed down, the arrival of our new teammate, David Buescher who is the brother of Luke Buescher, has been delayed and the team that was coming out with him has been canceled.  It has also all but stopped our work visa renewal process which puts us in a precarious position.  We are thankful however, that this time around most businesses have stayed open, and Uganda’s president hasn’t stopped any relief efforts.  Traditional church gatherings have also been banned.  Therefore, we have opened a small fellowship at our house and Luke has opened another at his.  We praise God for the work that He has been doing through them.  It is always great to see the way that God moves and people grow within intimate gatherings!

Fortunately, no matter the circumstance, God always opens doors for us to serve Him.  One of the major projects that we as a team have been working on during lock down is the development of our official curriculum.  Our goal is to have comprehensive guides for the interpretation of Scripture with Scripture through the entirety of God’s Word, synchronizing all future classes and greatly assisting in the process of accreditation.  While my teammates work in other sections, I have the weighty privilege of preparing teachers’ guides through the book of Genesis.  In light of how Jesus taught His disciples about Himself through the whole Bible, we continually ask the questions: what does this teach me about Jesus?  How did Jesus fulfill this in His first coming and/or how will He bring this thought to its conclusion in His second coming?  (Luke 24:27, Col 2:16-17, Heb 10:1).  I can’t imagine a better job!

We continue marching on the family front.  Noelle diligently homeschools the kids who love their life of learning and playing with their friends on the farm.  Apio continues to develop in spite of her past, but she has had to endure a lot of pain this month.  Due to her previous lack of oral hygiene, we have had to extract two of her teeth, do two root canals and give her four fillings.  Another exciting family development is that God has provided the means for us to convert our back porch into a guest room, allowing us to house visitors despite our growing family!   

Join us in praising God that:

  • He is using our home fellowships
  • He is giving us wisdom to write the teachers guides
  • He continues providing for our family

Please join with us in prayer:

  • For all of the people suffering from the virus and the government restrictions
  • For our visas to be processed soon
  • For Noelle and Apio who both have a skin parasite called scabies
  • For people to understand and accept the Gospel here in our region 

In Christ,

Matt, Noelle, Apio, Emma, Madeline, Noah & Charlotte

May 2021

“You are my servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you.  Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:9b-10.

God continues to show Himself faithful to our family as we continue depending on Him.  We were relieved when after 21 long days we were finally freed from our quarantine to interact with the outside world.  Our time to ourselves was really helpful as it freed us to focus on our family.  The time was especially helpful for me as it allowed me to write out lesson plans for multiple books of the Bible, which has been one of my primary roles since returning home.  However, it wasn’t easy to watch so many things get stacked up on the “to do when we get out list”.  The rush to catch up has been necessary and exhausting, and unfortunately our family’s health still isn’t completely back.  But we are content in the arms of our omniscient Father. 

Luke Buescher teaching through 1st Peter.

As missionaries, the joy of watching the Lord work far outweighs the cost of exhaustion and frustrations. It can even become so commonplace that we have to remind ourselves not to take it for granted.  We praise God as we reflect on what He has done in the last month: We had the privilege of being the conduit by which two of our Calvary churches received church buildings.  The ability to encourage the congregations and give responsibility of the building to them was an honor. I was given the responsibility of teaching the pastors in our school through the books of 1, 2, and 3 John; it’s always a blessing to be in the Word every day, organizing lessons and preparing sermons, and even leading daily devotions with the staff here at the farm.  Possibly the most special thing in the last month was being invited to preach at the birthday party of our 2 year-old neighbor.  Before preaching I was praying over a boy who had a splitting migraine, and by God’s grace he was healed. Then, despite giving what, from my perspective, was my worst sermon yet, the girls’ mother and 3 others got saved. After the party I was able to sit with them and explain more about their new relationship with God.  An old woman at the party also came to me with multiple health problems. She had gone from doctor to doctor trying to find healing from chronic pain in her knees, chest, and nonfunctioning hand and arm.  I prayed for her as well.  The next day I heard a report saying that she had danced into the night, praising God for restoring her.   We praise God that He upholds and helps us.

One of the two church buildings erected in May for our Calvary Chapel church plants.
My neighbors birthday party; the woman who was healed is above my right shoulder in the gold. The boy who was healed of his migraine is on the opposite end of the couch sitting on the arm, and the two women on the couch with me are among the four who got saved.

Praise God:

  • That we recovered from Covid.
  • That Apio is integrating into our family well.
  • That he is present in our human events.

Please Pray:

  • For our family’s health as we continue to fight illness.
  • For Uganda as we are about to enter a second Covid 19 lockdown.
  • For wisdom for our team as we try and adjust our activities according to the new government guidelines.

In Christ,

Matt, Noelle, Apio, Emma, Madeline, Noah & Charlotte

April 2021

“Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me.  And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”  John 14:21

April was a very trying month, but God has shown Himself faithful to supply His strength and presence according to His great grace.  Noelle and I have been quarantined in our house for the past two weeks after contracting the Corona virus.  We praise God that the fear of COVID here has really died down, so we aren’t receiving any threats.  We also praise God that we are recovering well and we will soon be able to go out again.  However, the virus has left us tired and weak.

Ironically, God gave us that thorn at exactly the right time as it has helped us restructure our family.  Apio Cynthia is a girl from our village that has been rejected and cast out.  When she was three years old she got hit by a car and for a short time was presumed dead.  Regrettably, shortly thereafter two of her siblings also got hit on the village roadside (there were no serious injuries), and because of the deeply rooted superstition of the culture, all of the accidents were blamed on her, and she was labeled as cursed.  Apio is now 11. For all of these years she has been left to raise herself because half of the village believes her to be cursed, and the other half thinks she is mentally handicapped and they don’t want the dead weight.  We have known her our entire time here and have tried to reconcile her to her family to no avail. We see that the best way to show the Father’s love right now is to offer her a place in ours.  According to God’s timing, Apio moved in with us at the same time we fell sick. The extra time together has been useful in restructuring the family dynamic and establishing house rules.  Apio has only ever known a life free from responsibility, order (and love), and it is hard for her to have boundaries.  For that reason we aren’t sure if she will decide to stay with us permanently or be moved into a school for vulnerable children; but the choice is hers, since her parents have already fully renounced her.

Please join us in praising God:

  • That we are recovering well and will soon be well.
  • That our kids love their new sister.
  • That our pastors have finished the majority of Pauls epistles and will soon complete their study through the entirety of Scripture.
We recently received funding to build this church for Calvary Chapel Omel

Please pray:

  • For Noelle and I to have strength and wisdom.
  • For Apio to trust our love and protection.
  • For BAM Enterprises as we continually struggle to be operationally sustainable.
  • That the churches represented in our ministry would thrive in their love for God and man.

Thank you for your continued encouragement and support.

May God bless you.
Matt, Noelle, Apio, Emma, Madeline, Noah & Charlotte

March 2021

“And He was saying to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’”  Luke 10:2

As a family we have invested a lot of our energy into reestablishing our home life here in Uganda.  We know that we can’t win “away” when we are losing at home.  It has been exactly a year since we were first displaced from our home in the Corona confusion.  Although we spent time in our house since then, this past month was the first we truly felt the peace of a home base.  As part of that we have officially started our children’s schooling and it’s crazy to us that we even have children that are old enough for school.  Please pray for Noelle as she starts her new life as a teacher. 

This past month I had the weighty privilege of teaching the majority of 1 Corinthians to the students in our pastoral school of discipleship.  When Paul learned of the problems in the church at Corinth he wrote them an appeal to godliness.  After identifying and defining each area of their weakness; e.g. division, sexual immorality, confusion in their worship services etc.  Paul responded with a piece of the story of our Savior, and showed them how the Gospel changes us and gives us a new way of life.  When you and I take our eyes off of the deceitful pleasures of the world, and take an honest look at our broken evil state, the need for Christ’s redemptive work grows more and more obvious.  The more we recognize sin as sin, the more we see our great personal need for a Savior.  It is then that we can appreciate just how great the Gospel really is.  Only the advent, life, death, resurrection and ascension of our Lord can transform a heart and take a soul from darkness and death to light and life.  Please pray for our churches to be preaching this gospel of hope.

The fields are large.  The work ahead for every one of God’s Gospel laborers is huge.  At times it can be overwhelming to realize just how big the task really is.  But God keeps reminding me of the parable of the Seed in Mark 4.  Just as the farmer doesn’t really understand or control the growth of his crops; neither can we understand or control how God moves in the hearts of men and women.  When God’s hand moves, only He can take the credit.  May God work mightily on the earth today.

“So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.”  1 Corinthians 3:7

May God Bless You,

Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline, Noah & Charlotte

February 2021

“Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Rom 15:5-6
Pikes Peak mountain range

We were blessed beyond words during our time with you in the United States, and now we are blessed to be back home in Uganda.  We spent our last days in the U.S. meeting with many of you and speaking at events.  Our prayer is that God will unite our hearts and voices together in prayer for our lost and dying world.  May the Spirit of God bring revival both here and there to the glory of His own name, and may we each be obedient to do His will at the expense of our own. 

Our children exhausted from 3 days of travel

We thought it best to use this opportunity to remind some of you, and inform others of you for the first time, what exactly it is that we are a part of over here.  We live among the Acholi people in Northern Uganda.  Here we work with Terebinth Ministries, a mission from Rocky Mountain Calvary Chapel, of Colorado Springs.  Terebinth exists to bring health to the Ugandan Church.  We do this through a Pastoral School of Discipleship, a Business As Mission, and a Widows Ministry. 

Noelle & Charlotte inspecting the work on our house

According to BEE World (Biblical Extension Education), fewer than 9 out of 1,000 pastors in the country of Uganda have formal Biblical training.  And according to the Baptist Coalition, only 4% of self-proclaimed born again people can answer the question “what does it mean to be born again.”  Therefore, despite Uganda being a Christian nation, there is much work to be done here, especially in the North where Joseph Kony’s LRA wreaked havoc for 3 decades. 

Matt teaching a class of pastors

The Terebinth School of Discipleship is our flagship mission.  Here we train pastors through the whole of God’s word, teaching them to interpret Scripture with Scripture.  The pastors and church leaders come to our church, Calvary Chapel Gulu, on a Sunday evening and spend the entire week studying with us.  In the course of the week they study through one or two books of the Bible (depending on the length of the book) and before leaving on Saturday, they take a test proving their understanding of what they learned.  At the end of three years they read through the whole bible twice and become familiar with all that God has said.   

Serving our customers at BAM

The Pastoral School is made possible because of the hard work done at our second mission, BAM (Business As Mission) Enterprises.  Given the poverty of our area, it would be infeasible for these men to spend a quarter of their lives for three years in school and cover the cost of their own schooling, on top of their family expenses and other responsibilities.  The funds that we raise from BAM bridge that gap.  BAM is a large scale farming operation that mostly deals in poultry and the buying and selling of grain. The operation revolves around 4,000+ chickens and a variety of milling machines.  We buy grains and sell the milled products while using the by-products to feed our birds.  Our prayer is that with time BAM becomes the financial engine for our ministry.

One our groups of widow’s after their Bible study

Our Widow’s ministry is where the left and right arms of the Pastoral School and BAM come together to care for “the least of these.”  We currently work with six of our graduated pastors in an effort to bless the widows that surround their churches.  The pastors have committee’s that meet with their corresponding widows once a week for group discipleship and once a month they are provided with a food package and a business package from BAM.  In this way, God is providing 160 widows and 500 fatherless children with discipleship, community, food and business. 

Chasing a camel on the highway
May God bless you and use you for the expansion of His kingdom,
In Christ,
Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline, Noah & Charlotte Harris

January 2021

“Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.”  Psalm 27:14.

Over our time in Nebraska it was a great joy to see our kids playing contentedly with their cousins, learning the names of SO MANY aunts and uncles, and getting to know my parents. When we were still living in America we did not get many opportunities for traveling to see my (Noelle) family, and even then the older girls were too young to remember. It was special for me to see them together with my family, as if they’d been with them all along though they’ve hardly known them. My dearest memories of our time in Nebraska are of our excited kids going on their “dates” with my mom and taking care to go love on their Papa: Noah climbing on his back (dad didn’t seem to mind); Emma leading dad around the house, taking great care to steer him due to his blindness; my dad, as progressed as he is in his Alzheimer’s, holding his cup by only his teeth and showing off to the little kids. And when he opened his normally closed eyes, looked straight at Maddie, and asked what she thought about it. She wasn’t sure what to think. I am thankful for God’s gift to us in the form of my family. I would find it hard to be on the field if they were not so behind us in our mission. Their love does not make me feel guilty for not staying longer (though time with them is always too short), their love frees me to GO! Not every missionary has a family supporting them in their calling, we are extremely blessed to have both families backing us.

Since our return to Colorado Springs we have spent our time doing paperwork and finishing our doctor appointments.  Acquiring government documentation can be tough enough, but with the Covid lag, it has truly proven challenging.  So far we have finished renewing passports for our older girls and we have obtained the birth certificate, SSN and passport for our baby.  However, before we can head back home we are still awaiting the return of Noelle’s and Noah’s passports that were turned in with Noah’s SSN application.  We hope to receive those soon so we can buy our tickets back to Uganda.  Although it is possible to return during these uncertain times it will be difficult because we have to have negative Covid tests 72 hours before our arrival back home.  The good news is that tickets are cheap right now for whatever reason.

We have truly enjoyed our time catching up with all of you here, but we are so excited to return back to the other work God has for us.  Please pray that our return would be smooth and soon. 

In Christ,

Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline, Noah & Charlotte Harris

December 2020

“Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

About 2000 years ago God sent His only Son to redeem us from our enslavement to sin. Today we have hope and peace with God because of His life, death, resurrection and ascension. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Davis family Christmas

Last year, 2020, we all saw our need for that Hope more than ever. The true condition of the world was revealed, as fear and death reigned through the virus and the lockdowns. Our hearts were unmasked as we were all polarized against each other. We have always needed Jesus, but perhaps that’s clearer to us now more than ever. Personally I feel as if I’ve been reduced to a small child, desperately dependent on his Father. It’s sad that it takes so much for us to accept the embrace of God’s loving arms, but praise God for His ever present help in time of trouble. May we be effective ambassadors for Christ, not announcing our opinions but faithfully proclaiming to all God’s message of reconciliation. 

In this year of 2021, we are excited to see the plans that God has in store for our family and ministry. We have almost finished our furlough, which has blessed us in many ways. If God wills, we plan on returning to our home in Northern Uganda sometime in February. We know that God has renewed our vision and given us greater knowledge and wisdom during this respite, so that we will be a more effective tool when we return. We look forward to reuniting with all of our teammates and fellow laborers in the Gospel.  In particular we are excited to graduate our 2nd class of pastors this coming Spring, and we are even more excited to watch how God provides as we work toward opening a second campus for the pastoral school. When that happens, I have been asked to assume the role as director over that campus.  

Praise God:
  • For the gift of His Son, Jesus who has purchased us from sin and death.  Merry Christmas!
  • For another chance to draw near to God as He draws near to us.  Happy New Year!
Please Pray:
  • For our daughter’s passport to come in quickly.  Paperwork is moving slowly during this COVID time.
  • For our return home to Uganda. 
  • That the Lord provides for the second campus of our school of discipleship.

In Christ,

Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline, Noah & Charlotte

November 2020

“For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.” Romans 1:11-12

Our furlough continues to be the fulfilling of what Paul longed for, the opportunity to meet with and be encouraged together with so many brothers and sisters in the faith.  We are always reminded of the ministry we have left in Uganda for this short time, and the work we have still remaining here in the US.  Being here in America has been it’s own kind of ministry, one with it’s own reward, namely, the joy of being reunited with ones we have left long ago, and the strengthening of our faith as we see and hear testimonies of what God was doing while we were away.  It has been a tremendous blessing to us.

Some of our friends who came out to help us paint

During our few weeks in Colorado (we will return there after visiting Noelle’s family in Nebraska), we were very happy to be staying in the building of one of our supporting churches. We had prayed for a place where we could receive visitors without disrupting a host family, where the kids could be kids, somewhere close to family, and where we could be a blessing. God answered by letting us stay at Colorado Freedom Church, which was the church Matt grew up attending, just down the street from his parents’ house. The church had a small gym area where the kids were free to play, and we were able to bless them with some remodeling. It also served as a base for Matt to earn some money, which we used to purchase the next 4 years of our children’s homeschool curriculum. CFC has been supporting us from the beginning, and we were so happy that they allowed us to stay there!

We spent Thanksgiving week with Matt’s grandparents in Kansas. Seeing our kids interact with their great-grandparents was precious, and we were happy to get a few pictures in the process. We are so thankful that with the love offering collected by the church there, we were able to send money back to Uganda. It will be used to purchase land and build a roof for one of the churches that has been planted by our church in Uganda. We continue to pray for the ability to do the same for 19 other churches there.

During most of our time in CO and even on our trip through KS, we were blessed with the company of our niece Moriah, who was lent to us by Noelle’s oldest brother and his wife for nearly 6 weeks while Noelle recovered from the c-section. The kids really love her, and although she is still young, her maturity is beyond her years and she really helped reinforce what we aim for in parenting. She was a God-send in help as well as friendship!

Praise God:

  • For health during our travels.
  • For places to stay.
  • For ability to see family.
  • For opportunities to speak at churches.
  • For funding for the church plot.
  • For Moriah!

Please pray:

  • For our presentation at Noelle’s childhood church this weekend.
  • For additional funding ($1,500/each) for the other 19 churches who currently meet under trees and on rented property.
  • For continued health for our family.
  • For us to be filled with the Spirit to share with others the good news of what Christ has done and continues to do!

In Christ,

Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline, Noah, & Charlotte

October 2020

“Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness.”  Psalm 33:18

Life just keeps going and going as we continue to visit friends and family.  We started October with a wonderful stay with our sending organization, Saving Grace World Mission, in Yorba Linda, California.  It is wonderful to serve alongside so many people devoted to the Lord, and we were very blessed by the sincere love of Christ shown by all the staff and community connected to Saving Grace.  Heading South, we came into Tecate, Mexico, to visit Matt’s brother and sister-in-law, Josh and Laura.  It was encouraging to be with them, to reconnect with Josh and to get to know Laura, since we hadn’t had opportunity before their wedding last year. It was also very special to spend time with our Mexican “Mama’s”. We had been on many short term trips to Tecate, and Matt had even spent 5 months living with Ma Elena and her family.  Being able to introduce them to their honorary grandchildren was precious.   On our way back to CO we stopped briefly in Phoenix to visit several friends.  We were also greatly encouraged there.  A few hours from home we had unexpected trouble with our vehicle. God brought friends who happened to live at the next Interstate exit, and they helped us home the next day. Praise God for His providence and protection!

Charlotte Hope was born on October 22 by C-section, the life verse we chose for her is printed above: Psalm 33:18.  We praise God for the safe procedure and delivery of our beautiful daughter, and the excellent care at the hospital here in Colorado Springs.  Emma and Madeline are happy to have another baby to love on, but Noah is very convinced that this is HIS baby. He loves her and with careful help, will hold her for as long as he can get away with. He is a fine big brother. While still admitted for recovery, God allowed us to get to know and pray for one of the nurses who cared for Noelle.  She became our friend, and we were even invited to come and meet her husband in their home.  What a blessing!

When you are open to whatever God has planned, it becomes a treat to be a part of it.  We have been blessed with many treats this month!!

Many blessings in Christ,
Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline, Noah, and Charlotte

September 2020

“God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.”  Psalm 68:6

I am grateful for the time God has given us to see some of our many loved ones.  I just can’t describe how much you all mean to us.  Our family, dear friends, partners, and fellow servants of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we love you and words can’t describe what a blessing it is to interact with each one of you and we can’t wait to see those of you whom we have not yet met with.  God has truly made a home for us.  

We started off our furlough at my parents house in Colorado, doing things we haven’t done in so long: Walmart runs, doctors appointments, meeting with supporters, and buying winter coats (who would have thought there would be snow the last week of August?). After we were given the go-ahead by Noelle’s doctor, we set our GPS for Oregon and started our West-side road trip. Every place we stopped was a wonderful time of encouragement. We stayed 2 weeks with my sister and brother-in-law, who had just had their 3rd baby girl. This was very special for our whole family as this was the first chance we’ve had to see the house and property that the Lord had provided Anna and Jed after he lost his legs serving our country in Afghanistan, nearly 10 years ago.  It was a blessing to see the the Spirit at work in all of us as we were mutually encouraged and strengthened.  We then finished out the month by visiting Yosemite National Park to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary!

Furlough has also provided a great time for me to further my Biblical education. I am currently taking classes to study the history of Israel, and to learn how to read and write in ancient Hebrew! We thank God for this amazing opportunity!

With Love,
Matt, Noelle, Emma, Madeline & Noah Harris